With new business ideas, concepts, and companies popping up every day, chances are you’re operating in a crowded market, no matter what business you’re in. When a market is crowded with competition, it can be challenging to stand out, reach your target audience, and convert that audience into customers.
But there are ways to break through the clutter and get your business in front of the right people, no matter how crowded the market might be.
Here are five ways to stand out, wow your customers, and put your business a step ahead of the competition:
Develop a unique POD
When you’re competing in a crowded market, it’s important that you – and your customers – have a strong sense of who you are and what makes you different from your competition.
In marketing terms, this is called a point of difference (POD for short). Having a unique POD will help set you apart from the hundreds of other businesses that do what you do and forge a stronger connection with your target customers. Without it, your audience will assume you’re just another generic flash in the pan and are far less likely to do business with you. American Express suggests finding your POD in 2 different ways; either by researching your competition or by asking your customers what makes your business stand out. Try both to get the clearest picture of your POD.
For example, let’s say you’re a design company. There are a million design companies out there. What makes you special? Are you a design company that specializes in creating logos for local businesses in your area? Or are you a design company that creates custom t-shirt designs for large corporations? When you have a unique POD, it increases your value to the people you’re best suited to serve – which will not only help you stand out in a crowded market, but will also help you generate more business.
Step up your game
If you want to stand out in a crowded market, you need to be better than everyone else. Coasting and doing the bare minimum just won’t cut it.
You need to step up your game.
First, you need to look at the way you’re presenting your business to the market. Are you on the same level as your competition (or better) in terms of design, marketing, and branding? If your website looks sloppy and your logo looks like it was designed by a second-grader, you might stand out… but not in a good way. Invest in the right design and branding team to make sure you put your best foot forward in the market. There are tons of resources online to get you started.
Peg Fitzpatrick, author of The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users, recommends using visual branding as a way to build trust with your audience: “Think of the visual you create as a promise to your audience that they’ll get what you’re advertising when they click through to your article.”
Then, look at what your competition is doing and then brainstorm ways you can do it better. Is your competition driving business through content marketing? Figure out how you can create content that’s even more valuable to your target customer. Does your competition have in-depth tutorials on how to use their products? Create a video series that walks your customers through each of your products step-by-step.
The more you best your competition, the more you’ll stand out to your target customers – and the more of those customers will choose to do business with you.
Know and share your mission
People – especially people of the younger generations – don’t want to work with soulless corporations. According to Huff Post, 94% of Millennials want to make a difference in the world through their work. They want to work with companies with a mission, companies who are working to make the world a better place. And if you have a strong mission, sharing it with your customers is a great way to stand out in your market.
Are you working to make your operations more eco-friendly? Do you donate a portion of your profits to an organization that’s near and dear to your heart? Do you do an annual volunteer project with your team? If so, tell people. Showing that you’re an organization that cares about the world around you will score you major bonus points with your target customers and will help you stand out against other companies that aren’t doing the same. Don't underestimate corporate social responsibility.
Make the customer your #1 priority
It seems that customer service has gone down the tube in recent years; companies are no longer putting their customers first, and customers are getting frustrated as a result.
So, if you want to stand out – and generate a ton of business in the process – make your customer your #1 priority.
By focusing on creating a positive customer experience in every interaction, you’ll put yourself a step ahead of competitors who are more interested in keeping costs low or moving units. And taking a customer-centric approach will also inspire customer loyalty; when your customers have a positive experience working with you, it will make them want to continue working with you, which can increase your repeat business. Pro Solutions says the three traits needed in every positive customer interaction are “care, concern, and quick responses”.
Evaluate your business and look for opportunities to make working with you a better experience for your customers. Can you make the ordering process easier? How can you better train your customer service reps? Can you rewrite any corporate policies to be more customer-friendly?
Establishing yourself as a customer-centric brand will help you stand out from your less customer-friendly competition – and will get you a ton of new customers in the process.
Think outside of the box
Consumers today are all about newness. So if you’re doing the same things to try to capture their attention that you (and a million other companies) have been doing for years, you’re going to fail.
Instead, if you want to stand out, you need to think outside of the box. What are some new and innovative ways to reach your audience – ways your competition hasn’t thought of yet?
The more out of the box you can be, the better your chances of standing out and connecting with your target customers.
There’s not a market out there that isn’t crowded these days, but with these tips, you can break through the clutter, reach your target audience, and generate new customers for your business.